Lockdown to be imposed in Maharashtra amid surging COVID-19 cases? Here’s what CM Uddhav Thackeray said

Maharashtra has been witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases and the Shiv Sena on Tuesday called it a matter of concern, adding that the opposition in the state should talk carefully about the COVID-19 crisis. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had on February 21(Sunday) asked people to follow “COVID-appropriate” behaviour and safety norms, and said he would observe the situation for a week to 15 days and then decide whether to impose another lockdown.

An editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ on Tuesday said after Thackeray’s comments, BJP leader Pravin Darekar remarked that the government should not create an atmosphere of terror and not act like a tyrant regime. The Sena hit out at the opposition while citing Delhi-based AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria’s comment that herd immunity is very difficult to achieve and one should not think of it in practical terms in India, especially in times of variant strains of COVID-19 and waning immunity.

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has talked about the COVID-19 threat, the Marathi daily said, adding the opposition in Maharashtra should now understand that the apex institute is not part of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi in the state. “The recent surge in COVID-19 cases is a matter of concern,” it said.

People should behave responsibly if the re-imposition of lockdown is to be avoided and the opposition parties should also keep in mind their responsibility, it said. “Opponents, talk carefully at least about the COVID-19 crisis. We have the rest of life left to play politics, but only if the coronavirus gives that opportunity! Hence, take care!!” the Shiv Sena said.

Taking a dig at Darekar, the editorial said BJP leaders from Maharashtra should protest outside the AIIMS in Delhi if they thin its director is “misleading” the country. It said criticising the chief minister when he is making people aware of the threat is akin to “committing treason with the state’s public”. “The chief minister has taken strict measures. Why should the opposition not welcome those? The public belongs to the opposition as much to the ruling parties,” it said.

The Sena also said lockdown can lead to a collapse of the economy and hence, the Centre should help in such a case. “A state like Maharashtra should get a special economic package in such a case. We won’t object if the opposition in Maharashtra insists on the financial package to (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi,” it said.

The opposition in the state is “not of Pakistani or Afghan lineage”. It is also from this soil (of Maharashtra), the Shiv Sena said. Without naming anyone, it said “some people with wisdom” held a grand wedding ceremony recently and discipline was allegedly not followed there.

Key people from all parties were among those who allegedly did not follow discipline, it said without specifying any detail of the function or its venue. “What orders can be given to the people then? The novel coronavirus does not spare anyone,” it added.

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